March 13, 2020 / 1:51 AM / a month ago

Japan says Olympics on track despite Trump's suggestion to postpone

People wearing protective masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), take selfies in front of the giant Olympic rings at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is on track to hold the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as planned, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Friday, after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested a possible delay of a year.

“I am aware of President Trump’s comments, but we are working closely with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the organising committee, and Tokyo in preparing for the Games as planned,” Suga told reporters.

Trump said on Thursday that officials should consider delaying the Games for a year amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the summer event would not be the same without spectators.

In a Friday phone call between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the two leaders did not discuss postponing the Tokyo Games or holding them without spectators, senior government spokesman Naoki Okada said.

“The prime minister said firmly that he wanted to win the battle with coronavirus and make this summer’s Olympics a success,” Okada told a media briefing following the phone talks. “President Trump said he thought highly of the effort.”

The two leaders did not talk about travel restrictions between Japan and the United States, Okada said.

Trump on Wednesday announced U.S. travel curbs on much of continental Europe to prevent coronavirus from spreading further.

Reporting by Sakura Murakamil and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Gerry Doyle

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